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03 October 2017

Celebrating 30 years of friendship and support for families of sick children

For the past three decades, families of patients at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children have been able to rely on the listening ear and practical support of the Friends for Parents volunteers.

Friends for Parents 30th anniversary

Set up by the hospital's chaplaincy team in 1987, in conjunction with the Mothers' Union, they are known for their distinctive yellow polo shirts and pastoral care.

Their aim is to make things easier for families during their time at the hospital. They do this by listening and talking with them on the ward, informing them of local facilities, running errands for those who do not want to leave their child's bedside, and making sure the parents' rooms on each floor are fully stocked with tea and coffee supplies.

Friends for Parents 30th anniversary

On Tuesday 3 October, past members of the team and those who have supported Friends for Parents over the years, including hospital staff and members of the Mothers' Union, were invited to attend an event to celebrate the memories and the bonds which have been created throughout the years.

Taking place in the Bristol Royal Infirmary's Sanctuary space, the event included music, memory and thanks-giving boards, as well as a variety of speakers who shared their stories.

Friends for Parents 30th anniversary 3

Gill Wilding, volunteer co-ordinator for the Friends for Parents, said:

"We feel there is no better way to celebrate our 30th birthday than to have with us those friends who have supported and helped us over the last 30 years, to bring to mind the many families we have met in the hospital and to dedicate ourselves to the future."

Stephen Oram, chaplain at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said:

"Friends for Parents have made an invaluable contribution to the families of children staying at the children's hospital over the past 30 years.

"Their listening ear, as well as very practical support, has helped to make a stay in hospital a little more comfortable."